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Guest Column: A new social distancing living routine

Creative Connections by Sara Aeikens

Sara Aeikens


Most days are similar to me during this distancing pattern the last several months. I awaken when it’s light, around 7 a.m., and meditate each morning for about a half hour, carrying on my early Sunday morning group practice to a daily session. I eat a substantial breakfast and wander through two daily newspapers, plus the bi-weekly Albert Lea Tribune, as I appreciate being able to keep up with the neighborhood activities as well as the local community news. I spend several hours sorting through a half-a-dozen file cabinets full of 40 years or so of articles of interest from numerous workshops I’ve attended, mainly throughout our United States.

In phoning friends to support them in this unusual time, after our usual check-in, I often ask them of a most favorite topic they might like to read about from articles  written a decade or more ago. I’ve delivered several envelopes to friends that they’ve found interesting. Some topics they’ve chosen are gardening, environment, special needs, sunshine, history, spiritual support, communications, goals, travel and finances.

I still have lots of sorting to do to complete this project.

After several hours of this activity each morning, I put my walking shoes on, and my husband and I go for a walk. I often do a two-mile circle, resting on a wooden bench at Dane Bay Bridge. This time when I walked on Fountain Lake bridge on Lakeview Boulevard, I found a cute tiny four-inch fish that had some life in it, so I threw him back into the lake. My husband sometimes goes by Shoff Gardens by Highway 13 that some Shades of Jade club members are caring for on a regular basis.

When we meander through the flower gardens, I usually pull several handfuls of weeds as we walk through the gardens. We don’t often see people on the sidewalks and keep our distance when we do.

Back home again, I may have uprooted a few dandelions on our corner lawn, so they won’t return and then returned to sorting papers. Before I started that job again, I got my husband to help me remove a tiny fish hook from the bottom of my light jacket and my cotton pants leg, along with yards of plastic fishing line that I sat on top of at the Dane Bay bench, while watching a mother duck herd her six little ducklings into the pond nearby.

My husband often fixes lunch and creates soups and salads. After we both relax in our recliners a bit, and I do some more sorting and paper organizing, I may head out to Blazing Star Trail for a shorter walk of about a mile and a half.  There are more walkers to pass by and we all stay on our own side of the trail. If you’ve never ventured on any of the various pathways, it’s a calming nature-filled experience for me. My favorite sounds are the frogs croaking in unison in at least three different locations.

I also like to sit on the solo benches to watch or hear geese, ducks and pelicans. Not long ago, I even saw a slithering snake but not yet another turtle this year.

Today as I neared the end of the trail, I passed by a couple holding hands, and we talked a bit about seven feet from each other, going opposite directions.

They shared that they were from the Wells and Faribault area, middle-aged and chose the Albert Lea trail for their first date! The distance comments connection caused me to grin! 

I then walked to my car and drove to a motel for a very short visit with a motel manager friend. What didn’t expect was to see at least three police and an arrest when I pulled into the front door parking lot. I watched as they put handcuffs on a young man and pulled everything out of his pockets while patting him down and then taking him away in a police car. I have taken the Albert Lea police academy program here, and seen videos of something similar, but never expected to be nearby. 

When I got home, a neighbor drove by and wanted to know if we’d like some pie, and then told me it was key lime. I laughed and said it was my favorite and thought that was quite a coincidence. Soon, there was a chunk of pie on our back doorstep. When I was inside and went to the back door I heard a loud buzzing sound. 

I realized our huge bumblebee that likes the bush by the door was trapped between the outside and inside door. I decided the safest way to save both of us was to go out the porch door, down and up steps and then out he buzzed.

Now it’s evening and tomorrow I will look forward to our usual daily living pattern, including all those delicious add-ons that I didn’t plan or expect!

Sara Aeikens is an Albert Lea resident.